Proposed Process Overhaul – Staff Report and Recommended Ordinance Released

on September 11, 2018

As some of you who have been following closely may already know, the re:code LA team released a draft of an ordinance last September (2017) that would overhaul the way our Department of City Planning reviews and acts upon applications and requests—the Processes and Procedures Ordinance. After five public hearings and nearly a dozen stakeholder group meetings, we received a lot of great feedback. We are now ready to make our recommendation to the City Planning Commission.

Those of you who provided feedback might recognize some of the changes we’ve made since our last staff hearing draft. We outline these changes and the overall proposal in the staff report and recommended ordinance we are providing to the City Planning Commission.

Given the scope of this project, and in order to provide enough time to review our proposal, the Department has decided to release the staff report and recommended ordinance a month before the scheduled City Planning Commission meeting:

Thursday, October 11, 2018 after 8:30 am
Los Angeles City Council Chamber, Room 340
200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
(date, time, and location subject to change)

The 948-page staff report outlines the changes to the current Zoning Code necessary to create and implement the new, consolidated administrative provisions.

A photo of the 948-page staff report, with a quarter added for scale.
A photo of the 948-page staff report, with a quarter added for scale.

The proposed ordinance will cut the number of review procedures in half, while still maintaining long-standing opportunities for participation. This will make it easier for both applicants and participants to clearly understand how projects are reviewed and to help them navigate the decision-making process. The proposed changes will result in a more consistent and standardized set of procedures.

“Anyone – regardless of their level of expertise – will now be able to pick up our Zoning Code and easily identify the process and procedure associated with a project. These changes are fundamentally about being relatable, open, and transparent and fostering a modernized Code, one which is more accessible.”
-- Vincent P. Bertoni, AICP | Director of Planning

Currently, there are over 100 different paths for project review scattered throughout the Zoning Code. For example, there are four types of adjustments for projects covered by overlays – an additional layer of design and building standards. While the same process applies for all four types of adjustments, they have different names and are located in different sections of the Zoning Code. The project team identified each instance of redundant workflows and consolidated them down to about 50 centrally-located processes with unique actions.

The City Planning Commission will review the staff report and proposed ordinance and issue its recommendation to the City Council. Pending Council adoption, the City will then have in place a new, consistent format for the review of planning projects.

The re:code LA team is particularly excited about this ordinance because it also establishes a new Chapter 1A of the Los Angeles Municipal Code that will serve as the home for our new Zoning Code. The revamped processes and procedures will make up the new Article 13 – Administration (the only part which would apply to both the current and new Zoning Codes). We are simultaneously hard at work developing the remaining parts of the new Zoning Code for release with the Downtown Community Plans (DTLA 2040), and we’re eager to share that with you in the near future.

For more details on the proposed Processes and Procedures Ordinance, please download and review the staff report. If you plan on preparing any responses for the City Planning Commission to consider, please keep in mind the following:

  • All materials delivered in response to a Recommendation Report (staff report) or additional comments must be submitted no later than 48 hours before the Commission meeting. Submissions, including exhibits, shall not exceed ten (10) pages and must be submitted electronically to (feel free to copy
  • All submissions within 48-hours of the meeting, including the day of the meeting, must be a hard copy submission. Electronic only submissions will not be accepted within 48-hours up to and including the day of the meeting. Submissions may not be more than two (2) written pages, including exhibits and must include the case and agenda item number of the cover or first page. Photographs do not count toward the page limitation. Fifteen (15) collated copies of the submission must be given to the Commission Executive Assistant prior to the start of the hearing who will distribute them to the Commission.


Stay tuned for updates as we make our way through the legislative process.



Recommended Reading

CPC-2016-3182-CA - Staff Report and Recommended Ordinance

What Are 'Processes and Procedures', and Why Are They Important? (June 18, 2018)

A Draft Outline Gives Shape to the New Zoning Code (March 22, 2018)

Proposed Process Overhaul Released - City Planning Standardizes Project Review (September 7, 2017)




re:code LA is a comprehensive revision of the City of Los Angeles’ Zoning Code, and is one of the City’s largest planning initiatives to date. First adopted in 1946, the Zoning Code’s overall structure has remained the same, while the needs of the City have changed drastically. The project will create a Zoning Code that provides a whole new set of land use and development regulations that realize the needs of a 21st Century Los Angeles for all stakeholders.